“The euro is much more than just a currency, it is a symbol of European integration in every sense of the word” Wim Duisenberg – former chief of the European Central Bank, 30th August 2001.
It is important that we all recognise the dual role of the euro: both its economical and political tasks in the European integration project. We all recognise that the euro has caused the economic failure of the euro- zone, so why does nobody want to put an end to this failed project? European integration seems to come at a huge cost to freedom, democracy, and the intrinsic values of societies and sovereign countries. These are the milestones of the euro, but a kind of integration is achieved by forcing Nations to forego their Sovereignty as a result of a debt that are unable to pay. This result could not be achieved without the euro. Unlike any other normal currency that a sovereign country can adjust in order to remain competitive, the euro is rigid and provides zero flexibility. Thus we have a flawed principle: two very different economies such as Greece and Germany sharing the same rigid currency, the one at the expense of the other.
Moreover, the real problem is not the economies of the European Nations, but the banking system. In order to support a failing banking system, central banks and governments have thrown trillions to private banks trying to avoid a toxic debt hair cut, but the banks always need more, much more. Somehow, the politicians are convincing their countries that a banking collapse is the end of the world and therefore they must support the banks at any cost. This cost is passed to the taxpayers. The soaring national debts are the product of this monstrous banking system that, especially in the euro-zone, is totally out of control as a result of the way it was designed. The banks are a united-linked system, over and above any legislation, with the ECB as its guardian. The euro is just the tool, the mechanism that enables the European state countries to bankrupt.
The euro has been the successful lethal weapon which is destroying sovereign countries via debt and bringing the political project of the European integration to a near conclusion, BUT……
Greece is the birth place of democracy and whenever democracy is under discussion, it is important that we refer to Greece. Also, it is no coincidence that Greece is not only the weakest link, but the cradle of democracy. For many, “if you want to kill democracy, you must destroy its birth place”.
Greece has lost both its democracy (after having an appointed prime minister) and its sovereignty (after having signed the bailout deal, known as the Memorandum of Understanding) and by having the troika placed permanently in Greece. It is unprecedented in world history that a country has signed away its sovereignty for a loan, and this credit belongs to the two main political parties that have governed Greece over the last 40 years.
The astonishing thing that even a first year student can understand, is that after Greece has sold all its profitable state assets by adhering to the privatisation programme of the Memorandum, the GDP will reduce significantly, whilst the annual deficit will continue to grow year on year, causing the deficit/ GDP ratio to exceed any solvency levels. Youth unemployment is currently 50% and suicide in the country has exceeded 2500 in one year. How many more lives should be sacrificed to achieve the European project?
It is unsurprising that in the 6th May election the Greek people rejected the Memorandum. Even after they were given a haircut as the carrot, they have decided to reject the two main parties that have brought the country to its knees. The greatest share of votes, 19% was given to minor and new parties. The two main parties that have alternately governed the country for 40 years with clear majority of the votes could not even get a majority as a coalition this time, and this is after a bonus of 50 parliamentary seats that the new election system gives to the first pass the post party. A further 35% of people did not vote at all, leaving a 48% of actual voters not represented – very sceptical and unconvinced that either political party has the solution.
So the first dilemma, Memorandum or anti-Memorandum with bankruptcy and no further loans did not scare the Greek people enough to fall in the trap, and the haircut was not a big enough carrot. It is now clear that Greece has not been rescued but sacrificed to rescue the European project.
Greeks are to vote again in less than two weeks’ time, on 17th June. The media war of propaganda has started again giving to Greeks another dilemma, Euro or Drachma? In reality, everyone knows that there is no mechanism to throw Greece out of euro; however, a country could leave of its own accord. The significance of a National Currency has been used as negative propaganda to scare the voters of a potential disaster if they choose to leave the euro. Surprising, the polls are concentrating on two parties, New Democracy, the Conservative party and SYRIZA, a left wing party that was the surprise winner of many votes in the last election. I am not convinced that if Greeks manage to appoint a government in any form on the 17th June, this will solve the problem. The further austerity measures are the continuation of more of the same wrong medicine which can guarantee that the people will be back in the streets, and I dare to say that a new election would be more likely within six months. The politicians cannot solve this problem that is now out of hand; neither should we expect them to. After all, they are the ones that they caused it in the first place.
Neither of the above dilemmas is right: Memorandum or not, euro or drachma, are not the real questions. The real question is in the heart of most Greeks. Will Greece rise from the ashes again? The whole world is focussed in this small country, the cradle of democracy, the birth place of European civilisation. This small economy that is only 2% of the European GDP has captured the global attention, not only because of the domino effect fear if Greece leaves the euro, as the euro-zone is better prepared for this now. Rather it is inspiration that they are looking for! Once again, the world is looking for a spark that will become a flame and a big fire! It is hope that they are after, hope that Democracy will never die.
Greece has inspired the world and has achieved the impossible in times of desperation. The Legend of Greece lives on and history shows that the Hellenes are very unique and unpredictable. Never try to classify them, and most of all, never try to write them off; they may surprise you at any time. My own thought is not if the Greeks will rise, because I am convinced that they will, but will they rise in time, to stop this European project?
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